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‘The world is getting better, Granny’: Hugs and kisses as families reunite

After a tickle and laugh with his grandparents, Ryan showed off his newly mastered skill – walking –plus a few toys.

“He was walking around in circles and laughing and everyone was having a lovely time … just marvelling at how much he’d grown,” Ms King said.

Since 11.59pm on Tuesday, Victorians have been allowed to have up to five family members or friends in their homes.

The moment has been met with a mix of joy and apprehension, as families settle back to a new coronavirus normal.

For mother-of-four Victoria Black, the reintroduction of family and friends’ visits makes her anxious, because she worries about her 73-year-old mother’s health and a return to busy weekends.

Community health nurse Mieken Grant said she and her husband, Paul Graham, found the lack of social obligations “a bit of a relief”.

People are advised to keep a 1.5-metre distance, but how close they get to one another is up to individual households.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said no-touch visits were safest from a public health perspective, but there was no ban on expressions of affection.

“There must be circumstances, though, where it’s really important for an individual – I’m not going to step into their private life,” he said.

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Premier Daniel Andrews urged people to remain cautious about close contact and recommended families avoid hugging older relatives.

“People will have to make deeply personal judgments about this,” he said.

Ms Black said she felt stressed at the prospect of her family seeing her mother, especially as her plumber husband Gavin was still working.

“I find it really difficult to comprehend how it’s all of a sudden safe when we’re talking about potentially having more outbreaks,” she said.

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“If [my mother] got it, she would still potentially die, so that really freaks me out.”

Ms Black said she wasn’t in a rush to make plans to see her mother, but the change in restriction rules could leave her feeling pressured to visit.

“It’s really conflicting, because I really want to see her and I usually see her three to four times a week,” she said.

Ms Black said she also felt overwhelmed at the thought of busy weekends returning.

“I have about eight different things that could be happening this weekend and I just feel sick, feeling like I don’t want to go back to the rush,” she said.

“I’ve really liked the hibernation side of it.”

Community health nurse Ms Grant said she and her husband were enjoying not having the pressure of social obligations.

“It’s been kind of a relief,” she said. “It’s a bit of a rest for your mental health. You don’t have to be that person that says no all the time.”

Ms Grant said she received an invite to an event almost immediately after Monday’s announcement.

“My immediate whole-body response was ‘I don’t want to go’,” she said.

“I’m so used to having my own time with my family at home. It just felt really odd, the thought of going to it.”

Ms Grant said she was looking forward to seeing her family for her daughter Rosa’s first birthday on Sunday, and did not worry about them hugging.

However, she said she would feel concerned about taking her daughter to lots of events.

Caledonia Connor watched on as her three-year-old son River jumped into his grandmother Wendy’s arms on Wednesday morning.

“You can [now] come in my house, Granny,” he said, leading her into their home.

The tearful grandmother followed him into the house where he looked at her earnestly and said: “The world is getting better, granny.”

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